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By default, controller-runtime builds a global prometheus registry and publishes a collection of performance metrics for each controller.

Protecting the Metrics

These metrics are protected by kube-rbac-proxy by default if using kubebuilder. Kubebuilder v2.2.0+ scaffold a clusterrole which can be found at config/rbac/auth_proxy_client_clusterrole.yaml.

You will need to grant permissions to your Prometheus server so that it can scrape the protected metrics. To achieve that, you can create a clusterRoleBinding to bind the clusterRole to the service account that your Prometheus server uses. If you are using kube-prometheus, this cluster binding already exists.

You can either run the following command, or apply the example yaml file provided below to create clusterRoleBinding.

If using kubebuilder <project-prefix> is the namePrefix field in config/default/kustomization.yaml.

kubectl create clusterrolebinding metrics --clusterrole=<project-prefix>-metrics-reader --serviceaccount=<namespace>:<service-account-name>

You can also apply the following ClusterRoleBinding:

kind: ClusterRoleBinding
  name: prometheus-k8s-rolebinding
  namespace: <operator-namespace>
  kind: ClusterRole
  name: prometheus-k8s-role
  - kind: ServiceAccount
    name: <prometheus-service-account>
    namespace: <prometheus-service-account-namespace>

The prometheus-k8s-role referenced here should provide the necessary permissions to allow prometheus scrape metrics from operator pods.

Exporting Metrics for Prometheus

Follow the steps below to export the metrics using the Prometheus Operator:

  1. Install Prometheus and Prometheus Operator. We recommend using kube-prometheus in production if you don’t have your own monitoring system. If you are just experimenting, you can only install Prometheus and Prometheus Operator.
  2. Uncomment the line - ../prometheus in the config/default/kustomization.yaml. It creates the ServiceMonitor resource which enables exporting the metrics.
# [PROMETHEUS] To enable prometheus monitor, uncomment all sections with 'PROMETHEUS'.
- ../prometheus

Note that, when you install your project in the cluster, it will create the ServiceMonitor to export the metrics. To check the ServiceMonitor, run kubectl get ServiceMonitor -n <project>-system. See an example:

$ kubectl get ServiceMonitor -n monitor-system
NAME                                         AGE
monitor-controller-manager-metrics-monitor   2m8s

Also, notice that the metrics are exported by default through port 8443. In this way, you are able to check the Prometheus metrics in its dashboard. To verify it, search for the metrics exported from the namespace where the project is running {namespace="<project>-system"}. See an example:

Screenshot 2019-10-02 at 13 07 13

Publishing Additional Metrics

If you wish to publish additional metrics from your controllers, this can be easily achieved by using the global registry from controller-runtime/pkg/metrics.

One way to achieve this is to declare your collectors as global variables and then register them using init() in the controller’s package.

For example:

import (

var (
    goobers = prometheus.NewCounter(
            Name: "goobers_total",
            Help: "Number of goobers proccessed",
    gooberFailures = prometheus.NewCounter(
            Name: "goober_failures_total",
            Help: "Number of failed goobers",

func init() {
    // Register custom metrics with the global prometheus registry
    metrics.Registry.MustRegister(goobers, gooberFailures)

You may then record metrics to those collectors from any part of your reconcile loop. These metrics can be evaluated from anywhere in the operator code.

Those metrics will be available for prometheus or other openmetrics systems to scrape.

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